Project Timing Overview

A department, school, or center will typically initiate a project with a proposal. It will then contact Facilities Management for guidance on the preliminary scope, site, constructability, estimated cost and schedule. If the project is deemed viable, the following steps will occur:

In general, the life cycle of a project involves the following phases.

These phases are common to all construction and remodeling projects; however, in smaller projects, the phases often become less formal, involve fewer individuals, and may have a short schedule of only a few months. Large projects, on the other hand, may take years from time they are envisioned by a school or department to the time "move-in" occurs. The following describes each phase of a large project:

Programming (2 to 6 months)

The school or department involved in a project forms a Building Committee of approximately six individuals. The committee will make the necessary design decisions based upon user requirements. One committee member will be designated as the liaison with the Project Manager.

The Design and Construction division serves as a resource, sometimes in conjunction with external consultants or with FM Planning, to help committees develop the specific project requirements. The Program of Requirements (POR) is developed detailing all objectives, spaces, services (i.e. telephone, data, utilities, etc.), equipment (new and existing), special finishes, furniture and spatial relationships. The POR forms the basis of the University's expectations and goals for the completed project.

The Building Committee and University units, including the Provost's office, NUIT, Risk Management and the Office of Research Safety, will review and contribute to the development of the documents prior to administrative approval. In the case of technically complex projects, an outside consultant is usually engaged to prepare the Program documents.

Selection of the Design Professionals (1 to 2 months)

Design professionals are generally firms offering both architectural design and engineering services; occasionally design firms join with engineering firms to form a design team. The Design and Construction division invites a "short list" of design firms (or teams) who have the necessary qualifications and experience to be interviewed by the Building Committee.

In the interviews, the potential team members formally present and illustrate their expertise in the relevant areas, followed by questions from the Building Committee members and Facilities Management. Facilities Management and the Committee select the firm it deems most suitable to meet the task and recommends their selection to the Administration for approval. The successful design firm uses the Program of Requirements, University Standards, the schedule and the Construction Budget, as well as any applicable grant requirements, as the basis for their design.

Schematic Design (2 to 4 months)

The design team’s first step is the "schematic design" phase. The objective is the development of simple diagrammatic documents delineating room sizes and relationships, single line diagrams of all systems (i.e. water mains, electrical risers, etc), preliminary elevations studies of the building exterior, and, if applicable, drawings of special interior spaces.

The schematic design will be reviewed during frequent meetings with the Building Committee and Design and Construction. At the conclusion of this design phase the architect will submit drawings, a project narrative, and an estimate of construction cost for review and approval by the Building Committee and appropriate university units, including the Provost's office, NUIT, Risk Management and the Office of Research Safety. In the case of larger projects this will include the Educational Properties Committee of the Board of Trustees, the President, the Dean, the Provost's Office and the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance.

Design Development (2 to 4 months)

The design team develops the approved schematic design into definitive plans and elevations. This includes selecting and reviewing colors, patterns, materials, lighting fixtures, and special equipment with the Building Committee. For complex laboratory projects, detailed laboratory plans identifying all services; casework and equipment are also developed. Detailed floor plans, sections, elevations and an outline specification defining materials, finishes and systems, as well as an updated construction cost estimate are submitted for review and approval by the Building Committee and appropriate university units, including the Provost's office, NUIT, Risk Management and the Office of Research Safety.

Construction Documents (4 to 6 months)

The approved design documents are developed into comprehensive construction drawings and specifications that are used to secure a building permit, to competitively bid the work among qualified contractors, and ultimately serve as the basis for the project’s construction. The design team submits the construction documents when they are 50% and 100% complete, just prior to bidding. They are reviewed and approved by the Building Committee and appropriate university units. These units include the Provost's Office, Facilities Management, NUIT, Risk Management, and the Office of Research Safety. After a thorough review of all the bids, interviews with the low bidders, and a review of the schedules proposed by contractors, a contractor is selected by Design and Construction.

Construction (6 to 30 months)

The Design and Construction Project Manager coordinates the work, monitors costs and scheduling, and reviews the construction performed by the Contractor. The Project Manager will also keep the designated Building Committee representative informed of the progress of the project. Building tours must be arranged in advance with the Project Manager due to safety and liability requirements. No one is allowed in the construction area without prior authorization.

Any client-requested changes to the project must be directed in writing to the Design and Construction Project Manager. The revision will be evaluated and priced by the contractor. After a review of the costs and an evaluation of the impact on the project schedule, the client will be asked to identify a funding source for the requested change. No changes to the agreed upon project scope will be implemented without corresponding documentation and funding.


Design and Construction arranges for contractors to provide training for FM’s Operations staff personnel and others who will be responsible for operating and maintaining the facility. Operations assumes operational responsibility for the facility at the time of initial occupancy. Well in advance of the projected occupancy date (at least 60 days), persons designated by the Building Committee must:


The Design and Construction Project Manager will hire professional movers. The Building Committee will designate the representative(s) to coordinate specific move times with the faculty, staff, and students involved. The moving company will provide packing materials and instructions; however, all packing is the responsibility of the parties being moved. The research unit retains technical and scientific equipment procurement and installation responsibility. Special arrangements can be made through Design and Construction for equipment movers and hook-up of utilities when corresponding funding authorization is secured.


At the time of initial occupancy, the Design and Construction Project Manager will give a facility overview and tour to designated representatives. He or she will explain how the building is zoned for thermal comfort, operation of appropriate building components, the location of emergency equipment and exits, etc. The facility’s operational and maintenance responsibilities are turned over to Operations, so all calls for service relating to the building should be directed to Operations. The Design and Construction Project Manager will be available to assist with resolution of warranty and post-occupancy construction issues.